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Col. 2.6 through 15 Sermon

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“Alive in Christ through Baptism”

Our sermon text for today is taken from the Epistle lesson, Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  We read Chapter 2 verse 8.  “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

Prayer:  Would you pray with me please?  Gracious Lord, You are the only God for us in a world that is filled with deception and hollowness.  We pray that You would be with us as You promise You will.  Lord, help us to see through the hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world, give us wisdom and discernment as we continue to grow in an understanding of You, and only You.  And Lord, give me the words to say, that Your children here in this sanctuary would hear Your truth even in my inadequacies.  Send Your Holy Spirit that He may work in me to do your will according to Your good pleasure.  Amen.

Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

You know I have to tell you, I feel so blessed to be able to serve in such a wonderful area as Chesterfield.  My wife and I both are really feeling as though we received, as she likes to call it, the “Cheesecake” call.  She and I both ask, “What did we do to deserve such a great call?”   This is a wonderful area with so much to offer...  Clearly the Lord has blessed many in the area with monetary success.  With this monetary success comes difficulties though…even confusion.  No matter what, anyone would find the world and all the information, perspectives, and life philosophies that come at us every day very confusing at times.  What a premise…the world is confusing.  I know that many of you are saying, “I’m not confused”…but ask yourself, “Do I make all the right decisions in my life?”  That’s a tricky question because if we say no we admit we are confused and if we say yes we might claim to have total control over our lives.

Confusion is timeless.  You remember the tower of Babel.  We have been seeking control over our own lives from the beginning.  You remember Adam and Eve don’t you?  We are trying to control our own lives and we are driven into confusion.  This is because this is not what our Lord wants for us and this is exactly what the deceiver would have us seek.  You do remember the Serpent right?  Well this has been going on for centuries and it was going on in Colossae too. 

Paul was exhorting the Colossians to “see to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies.”  There was a group of people that sought mastery over the “Stoicheia” which is Greek for “elements.”  Throughout time we have either tried to have control over our surroundings or put our faith in a deity that has control over them…(many of course who only professed to control them).  This is after all not unnatural; and is apt to repeat itself, to a greater or less extent, in every attempt at religion that is not essentially spiritual, and that departs from the “one foundation, which is Jesus Christ”  This is what we do now.  We seek to control our surroundings.  You may say no I don’t, but think about how we use our air conditioners and our heaters, our cars, weathermen, the internet, alarm systems, and yes, our bank accounts.  These are ways that we attempt to weather the storms of life.  Now there is nothing wrong with using the technology and resources available to us to protect ourselves from harm and plan ahead.  It’s when we put our faith in these created things or “elements” that there is trouble.  It’s when we begin to believe that if we compile enough money, then we have control over our lives.  That’s when we put our faith in a hollow and deceptive God.  This is a philosophy that is prevalent today though.  It’s confusing…the messages we hear all point to accumulating wealth which is as “solid as a rock.”…  There is only one rock.

Some seek direction through Financial Power.

Many of us have found financial success in this life.  Many of us know others that have.  It is not easy to avoid the temptation to get caught up in the pursuit of success in this area…the world bombards us with the message that this is really the answer.  “The one that dies with the most toys wins” is the prevailing philosophy of the world.  Many that have achieved success as a Christian are haunted by the words, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  This is a reminder of the temptation to buy into the deceivers call to put your faith in money.  But money will fail you.  We’ve all seen it.  Just like the rich man that stored up his crops thinking he had control over his future and Jesus said he was a fool for he would have his life demanded of him that very night.  We have seen recessions and market shifts wipe out people that seemed to have it made…there is no rock but one.

Some seek direction through Satisfaction of Self.

Many are preoccupied with satisfying our own desires and making ourselves God’s before Him.  This is a common philosophy today.  The purveyors of this philosophy would say “live for today” or “you only go around once in life.”  The media drills this message home day in and day out.  The slogans tell us, “I’m worth it” or “have it your way.”  The children are taught self esteem before they are taught how to serve others.  The devil uses this one to distract us from his enemy all the time.

I wanted to read you an excerpt from a book I’m reading to my daughter right now (I won’t mention her name because I keep talking about her).  Anyway, this book is kind of a takeoff from C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters.”  I actually would highly recommend this book to our teenagers.  It is, like Screwtape, the correspondence between Lord Foulgrin and Prince Ishbane, two of Satans minions.  They are writing about the successes and failures of their endeavor to win over 4 teenagers through hollow and deceptive beguiling.  (Read pg. 57)

What a message, “unrestricted sexual indulgence leads to…inner peace.”  This is the calling we hear and our teens hear in our movies, television shows, magazines, you name it.  To pursue self satisfaction is all that is left if there is no meaning in life anyway.  But…

Life that is rooted in Jesus Christ has Meaning and Direction.

This is Paul’s message.  For Paul there is no hiatus between believing and behaving. “Christology and ethics are intimately conjoined.”  We see this message in the rest of his epistle.  When I was writing this sermon I read this part of the epistle over and over and meditating on it.  I realized that I should just read this passage over and over to you.  But I really couldn’t just do that.  But I would like to go over it with you.  If you would please open, either your bulletin to page 7, or the pew Bibles to pg. (   ), we can look at it together.  Look at verse 9, “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”  He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,”

We are united with Him through Baptism.

In verses 11 and 12 it is clear that we have participated in His death and resurrection through our Baptism.  With the words, “…having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God.”  And we are made alive again together with Him through the resurrection.  Luther said, “There is on earth no greater comfort than Baptism.”  Baptism empowers our daily walk as Christians.

Through the gift of baptism in Jesus we are not Confused.

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